As the parties involved in talks on the future government of Northern Ireland take part in this week's key summit in Scotland, we take a look at the key issues and players.
The Irish government is pressing for the deadline to be met, and privately has concerns that any movement by the DUP will prompt the British side to give it more time.
The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has said that the status quo is not an option, and the Irish government will be pressing for greater north-south cooperation if there is not deal.
The two governments are on record as saying there will be a "step change" in north south cooperation if there is no deal.
Bertie Ahern said Northern Ireland cannot afford to wait
This is to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is not stymied by a unionist veto on power-sharing.
The governments have also spoken about joint management of the political process but is being careful not to unsettle loyalists who remain armed and are refusing to decommission this side of the deadline.
The British and Irish governments will hold an intergovernmental conference in early December and in the absence of a deal will doubtless explore Plan B in terms of north-south cooperation.
The Irish government, like the British government, has welcomed the IMC report on paramilitary activity in terms of IRA progress.
The Taoiseach said parties should not be tempted to buy time and that it would be unthinkable if a deal was lost. He said Northern Ireland cannot afford to wait and must seize the economic opportunities that devolution can bring.
The Irish government is facing an election next year and Sinn Fein is competing with Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fail government and other parties for powers.
This is one reason why Mr Ahern has pressed for a deadline. He is facing an election with Sinn Fein and wants to be free to fight than rather than having to focus on getting a deal on devolution.